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In defense of NAEA and other state art ed organizations and arts advocates...


Date: Tue Jul 16 2002 - 05:35:16 PDT

Hi All,
     I have been following the latest chain of letters regarding gaining
respect in our profession of Art Education.
    Through being ACTIVELY INVOLVED on the state level with PAEA I have seen
first hand what such an organization can do for your respect quota. And also
how much of an impact one or two people can make.
    I think back through my arts education training, the people who made the
most positive impact on my teaching style and built my esteem regarding being
an art educator, were those ACTIVELY involved in the profession. Through
research in the arts education field, the ones who write the journal articles
and the textbooks we refer to in our college papers. The books and writings
we look to when quoting percentages of arts funding, or the impact of the
arts on other subjects.
    People in NAEA (and from my experience PAEA) who attend these meetings
and plan conferences and workshops and review and write and debate and defend
the standards. These same people bend the ear of local state and national
politicians and put the arts out there on display so that those people in
those non arts professions see, feel and remember the impact that the arts
have on the world.
    This all takes a lot of time, and many people are willing to give it to
support our profession, the results are well worth it. BUT IF WE ALL DID THE
So many of us on this list are actively working to improve the art education
world, but the percentages of those who do, to those who don't are staggering.
Just think about your own school system ...
How many of your fellow art educators belong to state and national art ed
associations ?
How many participate in state and national conferences?
(even if it is at their own monetary expense because they know how important
it is !!!)
And if you say , "but our organization doesn't do much" (get in there and
start something yourself !!!)
to quote a famous comic strip... (hmm created by an artist (tee hee ) )

Instead of a letter writing campaign to NAEA why not join and become an
ACTIVE member of your state art education association and NAEA.
That way you can become one of those "art education folks" who can bend the
ear of politicians and art materials manufacturers.

I would not trade a moment of the time that I have spent at meetings and
conferences and courses and workshops and setting up exhibits and stuffing
envelopes and online :) with fellow art educators who are working to gain
respect for the Art Education profession. But early on I learned through the
active examples of others that you have to go out and defend and advocate
yourself, NO ONE ELSE CAN SAY IT BETTER ! And if you are not willing to fight
and promote your profession why should anyone else.
Keep inspiring us, those on this list who are out there consistently giving a
face and a voice to art education !!!
 <A HREF="">NAEA - National Art
Education Association - Membership</A>
also look at
 <A HREF="">National Arts Education
Public Awareness Campaign</A>

Sincerely ,
Christine Besack :)
Art Educator